The esports betting integrity conundrum

The esports betting integrity conundrum

Friday, October 21, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron

Whenever esports betting is brought up in a debate, the question of integrity is never far behind. Indeed as regulated esports betting has grown in a big way this year as a market the shadow of integrity has grown alongside it.

Ian Smith, the Commissioner of ESIC, spoke on a panel at EiG in Berlin this week and generally reiterated the notion he has in the past that esports is no worse than traditional sports, but how bad are traditional sports? Alongside Smith sat Victor Martyn, the CEO and Founder of GosuGamers, Jens Hilgers one of the founders of ESL and currently CEO at Dojo Madness and Pavol Krasnovksy, CEO of RTSmunity.

The Esports Integrity Coalition is a coalition of stakeholders across esports including ESL, Dreamhack and more. It is aiming to become the recognised guardian of sporting integrity. Smith said: “Integrity issues, one of which is cheating, in esports is a problem which also negatively affects the game publishers which is why they’re interested in combating it too.

“Of course what affects the betting crowd more is cheating to lose. We work closely with Sportradar and monitor the markets. What we’ve found is that more often than not, it’s the bookmaker that has got it wrong.

“This is a highly teched up community that know their sports. Far more so than what I’ve witnessed in the traditional sports communities, and if you slip up setting the odds as a bookmaker, they’ll jump on it. That is largely why we see anomalies.”

“My view is simple. There are 3 certainties in esports. One, it’s going to grow and it’s going to grow exponentially. Two, almost in parallel there will be a growth in esports betting and the third certainty is wherever there is a market there will be somebody trying to manipulate it. My job is to make their success rate as low as possible.”

He added: “We are in the process of establishing a relationship with ESSA, and we have good relations with the main bookmakers offering esports odds.”

One point that Pavol Krasnovsky, whose company RTSmunity delivered a demo on live odds for Overwatch at EiG, emphasised to listeners is the amount of data within esports. He said that if esports players want to cheat, then all of their decisions are stored; for every micro decision a player makes there’s a line of code.

He stated that RTSmunity is trying to better understand the games and find a solution to demonstrate suspicious activity by players during games. He said that by coupling this with betting tickets and patterns from bookmakers they should be able to find incidences of cheating.

Smith backed this assessment up that it would make for good evidence, if for instance a player that usually gets a high percentage of kills or head shots for instance, drops dramatically one game and this incidence occurs in parallel with betting on that result.

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